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Best places to travel in 2017

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Here are your up and coming must-see destinations for 2017.

Some of these places you​ won't have ​even heard of yet. But trust us, they’re going to be ​big in 2017. So ​huge in fact, half the world will have a magnet bearing their name by December.

Catch one while they’re still qu​iet.

If you like: New Zealand
Visit: North Wales
Boy, we have a great back garden, don’t we? World leaders in all things au naturel and adrenalin fuelled. But don’t get complacent just yet, we’ve got competition… From the Welsh!

North Wales actually. Because this is where you’ll find Wales’ highest mountain (that'd be Snowdon), rugged coastline, an island that Bear Grylls calls home and pastures as green as you'll feel when we tell you about Bounce Below.

But first.

The Surf Snowdonia Adventure Park offers gorge walking, SUP boarding and the 'Crash & Splash Lagoon', a water assault course not dissimilar to Total Wipeout and boasting the world’s longest surfable human-made waves. You can canoe along Snowdonia's icy blue lakes, or book a White Water Rafting trip on the temperamental River Dee. Penrhyn Quarry‘s Zip World offers the planet’s fastest (and Europe’s longest) zip line. And then there's Bounce Below. Housed in a former slate mine, it's basically a series of giant trampolines located below ground. In caves to be specific. Boasting four slides the height of two double-decker buses and six levels of bouncing fun, this one’s a game-changer.

Also, Wales has castles. Lots and lots of awesome castles.

 

If you like: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Visit: Perak, Malaysia
When we say 2017’s ‘up and coming’ destinations, we mean you should expect a little bit of up - and yet to arrive. Places such as Perak (and in particular Ipoh Old Town) are in the midst of rejuvenation, and as a result, remain ​a little unloved around the edges. But worry not, because it’s ever so charming.  

Charismatic laneways front worn mansions and scrappy facades with a colonial past. Buildings are naturally askew; many crumbling, most lopsided, but all of them steeped ​in tradition. Ipoh is naturally divided into two by the Kinta River; Old Town and New Town, but it’s the old quarter where you’ll discover carpet traders and cloth merchants; vendors stood between doorways and locals sweeping the dust from pavements leading to grand period buildings.

Formerly the hangout of backpackers and those with a ​bohemian inclination, Ipoh has just started to attract a more diverse crowd. If not for the aesthetics, then definitely for the local speciality of chicken and beansprouts. 

 

If you like: Stockholm, Sweden
Visit: Aarhus, Denmark
Move over Copenhagen, there’s a new cool cat in town, and it’s called Aarhus. As the second largest city in Denmark, this one’s gaining worldwide respect for its cultural and culinary scene. ​Not only has it scored the title of Europe's Capital of Culture for 2017, it’s also bagged the European Region of Gastronomy.

But before all that, let’s start with summer. At its very peak, the sun rises at 4.30am and doesn’t even set until 10pm. That’ll do wonders for your Vitamin D levels. Aarhus also enjoys easy access to Mols Bjerge, one of Denmark’s three national parks, and lies a mere 4km north of sandy beaches and cheerful jetties.

But what about the inner city enclave? A township of two halves, Aarhus is where the ancient meets new. From old Viking h​aunts to the ground breaking ARoS Museum, with its contemporary exhibits and rainbow-coloured skywalk. The Latin Quarter is arguably the most beautiful part of the city, and with its 14th century architecture, the oldest too. Sip on milky coffee at a cafe lining the narrow, cobblestone streets, and then venture to Aarhus' dazzling harbour, for X-rated platters of delicious Danish food.   

 

If you like: Madrid, Spain
Visit: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, you little introvert, you. Having remained off the radar for several centuries, only now are people truly appreciating ​​your *splendiferous ​attributes. 

*Great word - and not one we throw around lightly.

Built on numerous hills there are scenic views from almost every pit stop, vintage trams (once littering every capital on the European continent​ are all obsolete except for Lisbon) trundle up the streets in all their vintage grandeur. Medieval neighbourhoods feed the locals’ never-ending appetite for late dinners, rich coffee and colourful street life. Ostentatious churches and pastel-coloured buildings glimmer in the sunshine, which hangs out all year round. ​Even in winter, Lisbon’s temperature rarely dips below 10 degrees.

The culture is also astounding. Berardo Museum houses some of Europe’s greatest modern art and was lovingly collated by a Portuguese millionaire. The Madre de Deus Convent is the world’s only museum converted from a former convent. It also hosts an ancient art form that Lisbon is famed for – decorative ceramic tiles. Keep an eye out for the lavish paintings which you won't even believe are tiled mosaics (they are).   

And then there are Lisbon's downtime activities. Enjoying a beachside locale, the call of the ocean is never far away, and neither is the aroma of delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Comercio Square, Lisbon’s grandest piazza on the waterfront, satisfies taste buds from noon until night.     

 

If you like: Northern France
Visit: South Australia
Wait, what? Did we just compare South Australia to Northern France? Yes, yes we did. And with good reason too.

Ask yourself, what is it about France that we all love so dearly?

It’s because France is visually stunning; defined by rolling countryside and tumbling vineyards. It’s because said vineyards produce some of the world’s best tasting wine, and it’s because the food is next level sublime.

You can say the same about South Australia. Vineyards aside (of which there are also plenty) the terrain is a formidable terrain of torched ​landscapes blackened by bush fire. They are now a symbol of botanical glory. In South Australia, nature springs back with a vengeance; the soil is a golden shade of fiery red, complemented by green regrowth and the spindly trunks of eucalyptus trees.

The wine varietals in SA are also world famous. Two words – Sparkling Shiraz. And two more – Domaine Chandon. Technically in Victoria, this winery is just a hop and a skip away. With a heritage that derives from genuine French vines (hence the Chandon, from Moët & Chandon) and a sparkling wine to knock your socks off. As for food, the expertise here is so profound, even the Parisians are raising an eyebrow. With a land abundant in fresh produce, from gooey cheese to organic meats and just-shucked shellfish, menus pretty much write themselves in these fair lands.

Where w​ill 2017 take you? Check out all our current deals here. 

  

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